Llewellyn Robinson is a former leader of the Safe Spaces group at Resurrection Catholic Secondary School (RCSS) in Kitchener. They have been an active voice for the LGBTQ+ community in their region, and have spoken on several panels to educate about the community, in particular the transgender community. I had the pleasure of speaking with them and learned about their experiences and some of their goals with the Safe Spaces group.
EH: What role does Safe Spaces play at Resurrection?
LR: Their role is to educate on the LGBTQ community, but we also do stuff with other minorities such as our students of colour and our exchange students.
EH: What do you provide for the students in your group?
LR: In our group, we just provide a safe place. We’ve had multiple people say that it’s helped with them coming out in their own personal lives, as well as just knowing that within a Catholic community there’s still LGBTQ people who are open and are willing to listen and teach.
EH: What has Safe Spaces provided for you?
LR: It’s provided me a space to explore different labels, and also given me many leadership opportunities both as a co-head and being on panels with our chaplain.
EH: So where have you been doing panels and things like that?
LR: I did a panel, I believe last year, it was about inclusivity within the Kitchener-Waterloo area. I was on the panel with three other lovely young women of colour and they represented their communities and then I represented the trans community specifically.
EH: What has Safe Spaces achieved in recent years? For the school and for the group itself?
LR: Some of the big things we’ve done are the chats to each of the grade levels. So we did a panel of students who were willing to talk about their own experiences and teach people on proper pronouns and things. We also have had students go into the staff meetings to talk about the importance of teachers asking about chosen names and pronouns and things like that, which have had a great effect on our staff and students.
EH: Is there any obstacles the group has been facing? I know that recently there has been an issue with flying a Pride flag during Pride month.
LR: The issue with the Pride flag in the Catholic schools is complicated. The miscommunication that happened a few years ago was that…Parent council was told we wanted to fly the flag all year round and not just in June when we only wanted it for June. So there was the piece of miscommunication, but we managed to have it in the cafeteria of the school instead of outside the school. But we’re hoping to get it flying, at least in the forum where everyone can see it.
Llewellyn continues to be a strong defender of the LGBTQ+ community both at RCSS and in their daily lives. They are still an active member of the Safe Spaces group despite no longer being a leader, and strive to help and educate people on the issues and trials that still face the community in Canada now.